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~ I dont blog about things to be liked. I blog about things that I like ~ ... so that one day, on my death bed, I will have said and done what I wanted to do, and die peacefully without regrets.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says..' Oh shit....She's awake'

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Big Tree in the Tsitsikamma forest

Hiking Trail: Big Tree and Ratel Trail
Name of Reserve / Area: Tsitsikamma National Park
Nearest Town: Storms River Village, Plettenberg Bay
Province: Garden Route
Country: South Africa

Duration of hike: 1 - 2 hours depending on how far you wish to walk. The boardwalk to the Big Tree is a 1km circular walk, from there you can continue along the path for up to just over 4km walk to more big trees and fallen giants.

Directions to get there: From Cape Town, take the N2 towards Plettenberg bay. About 60km pass Plettenberg bay, and just after the turn to Storms River Village on your right, is the turn to the left which takes you to the parking area for the Big Tree walk.

Contact Information:
SANparks - Tsitsikamma Indigenous Forest
Phone: +27 (0) 42 281 1557

This is a 800 year old Yellow wood tree, with a height of 36.6m, Trunk length is 18.3m and it takes 8 adults holding hands around the girth.

Best time of year to go: Anytime.

What costs did you incur to do this hike: R8-00 Adults and R4-00 Children
Free entry (if you are a South African Citizen) for Wild Card Holders (

How safe is it: Even though we felt very safe walking through the forest, we are always equipped with a mace pray and a shocker.

Visitors Hours: 06h00 - 18h00

Fresh Water: All running water in the river is drinkable. The brown colour of the water is due to tannins and humic acids leached from leaf litter on the forest floor.

Difficulty: Three routes have been laid out and colour coded with red (4.2km), yellow (2.6km) and green (1km) footprints giving a choice of walking distances. All three these walks are relatively easy.

Pets: No pets allowed in the park.

Access to the Ratel Nature Walk (after you have entered the park for the Big Tree Trail) can be obtained by means of self-issue permits that are available at the start of the walk. You are requested to carry your permit with you at all times.

How will I rate this hike? We loved the neatly laid out boardwalks. Its always sad to see only 1 or 2 of the 800 year old trees around, but its good to know they are still standing.

I was so excited to see a Knysna Dwarf Chameleon. He survived a crowd of 8 people walking over him.

These chameleons are a favourite for the very poisonous boomslang that frequents the eastern cape region. The boomslang is a very non-aggressive and shy snake, which makes the risk of a bite very low. We happen to run into a female boomslang later on in our travels, I was so excited to finally see one in the wild - wowee :)

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